November 22, 2011
Owls and Roosters blogger and the province’s most frequent user of access to information, has died. He was 50. He always held government and the media’s feet to the fire and was a frequent contributor to the SP’s editorial pages. He was an outspoken critic of River Landing, the demolition of the Traffic Bridge, and the move of the Mendel Art Gallery to River Landing. His wife, Georgie Davis, a disability advocate and activist, died in September.
From Kuchta’s obituary:
With grace, Joe passed away peacefully at home – now able to re-join his soul-mate and beloved wife, Georgie Davis. Joe will be very much missed by his brother, Jeff Kuchta and wife, Sandra Eisan, and their children, Liam and Wesley, along with his Aunt Carole Kuchta, Aunt Irene and Uncle Jake Fehr, and long-time friend, Charlie Sass whom he recently enjoyed visiting back in his home town of London, Ontario. Joe is predeceased by his parents Joseph and Lorraine Kuchta.
It was Joe’s deep love for Georgie that brought him to Saskatoon in the 1990’s after making Toronto his home for a number of years. Together, Joe and Georgie were a remarkable team contributing greatly to the well-being of our community – from standing up for the rights of people living with disabilities, to speaking up and writing about our treasured built heritage, to improving the overall quality of our civic dialogue and debate.
With the precision and mastery of a seasoned forensic scientist, Joe wielded together evidence-based articles on numerous civic issues such as the River Landing-Mendel ‘fiasco’ to the impending tragic loss of the Traffic Bridge and Saint Mary’s Community School slated for the ‘rubble pile’ as Joe put it.
Regardless of where people stood with respect to such issues, Joe’s ability to bring to light meaningful information to regular folk (whom he considered himself to be one of) changed the level and quality of civic debate by elected and community leaders, pundits, and journalists alike.Joe’s tenacious civic watchdog ways were deeply respected by more than a few local and provincial officials and leaders who looked forward, sometimes with warranted trepidation, to what next Joe would uncover. Joe’s blog, Owls and Roosters (circa 2006) was bookmarked and followed by many local and provincial politicos and regular folk.Joe’s blog and contributions to the local papers will be missed by many.
Perhaps the strongest community legacy that Joe and Georgie together leave us each to fill is to have the courage (even when we don’t think we have any to give) to add our voice to a deliberative dialogue about the issues that matter to us and to hold our civic leadership to account by doing so – exercising true democracy.
Joe’s tight-knit adopted family in Saskatoon will deeply mourn his loss. This motley crew includes in part and in no particular order, his adopted Moms, Roxy and Phyllis, his sisters, Lenore and Kelley, and dear friends Garry, Marie, Dorothy and George, Rusty and Georgianna, Maretta and Fiji, Cathleen and Daryl, and swimming buddies, Anna and Dan.
A private memorial is planned. The Georgie Davis Fund, established at the downtown Affinity Credit Union, is a welcome way to advance the causes that Joe and Georgie dedicated their lives to. Arrangements are in the care of Mourning Glory Funeral Services www.mourningglory.ca.
One of Joe’s favourite authors was Jack Kerouac, in his words… Maybe that’s what life is… a wink of the eye and winking stars.